Repairs to rented properties
Both landlords and tenants have obligations with regard to property maintenance.
Tenants are expected to keep the property that they rent in a clean, tidy and well ventilated state, and to adhere to the conditions of their rental agreement.
Landlords have a duty to carry out repairs to keep the property in a habitable condition.
The, contained in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, extended the statutory and contractual repairing obligations of private landlords. It also applies to some tenancies of social landlords, for example, tied houses (housing provided by an employer).
The landlord must ensure the house is wind and water tight and reasonably fit for human habitation.
- The structure and exterior, various installations, fixtures, fittings and appliances must be satisfactory.
- Furnishings provided must be safe.
- Smoke alarms are also required.
Since September 2007, landlords have had to inform tenants in writing about the Repairing Standard before the start of any new tenancy.
If the tenant notifies the landlord that the house does not meet the Standard, the landlord will have a duty to carry out necessary work within a reasonable time. It is now easier for private tenants to make sure their landlord complies with their repairing obligations. Instead of going to court, tenants should apply to the Housing and Property Chamber - First-tier Tribunal for Scotland
There is a range of useful information and downloadable forms and guidance on their website.
Landlord’s rights of access to property
Landlords are entitled to enter the property to inspect any repairs required or to carry out repairs. A tenant is required to give reasonable access to allow the landlord to do this. Normally both parties should arrange a mutually suitable time, but the landlord can enter the property, at a reasonable time of day, provided you have given the tenant 24 hours' notice in writing.
Please note - If an emergency repair is required, the landlord can claim immediate access.
Adaptations for tenants with disabilities
If a tenant or someone who lives with them is disabled, in some circumstances a landlord may be required to make physical changes to the property. In addition, as a result of the Right to Adapt under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, a tenant may be able to make physical changes to the property to make it suitable for them. A tenant may also have a right to take advantage of government schemes to install central heating or energy efficiency measures.
If the property which a landlord rents to a tenant shares common areas with other owners, the landlord will have obligations to contribute to their maintenance. Landlords may also need the permission or co-operation of other owners to repair problems which affect their tenants.
The details of who is responsible and in what proportions should be set out in the title deeds of each property, and can be enforced by other owners.
The Tenement (Scotland) Act 2004 provides a standard approach for handling common repairs where the title deeds are silent or unclear. The booklet Common Repair, Common Sense gives advice on dealing with common repair obligations.
Maintaining property that you own
Owning a house brings with it a number of responsibilities.
Often, your title deeds will set out what you are responsible for in terms of looking after and repairing your property. Copies can be obtained from the Registers of Scotland.
If you live in a tenement block or other flatted property, you may have joint responsibility for communal parts of the building, as well as sole responsibility for areas which you own.
If you live in a tenement or other block of flats your title deeds may not contain information about your responsibilities. In that case the Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004 gives information on the maintenance and management of tenements.
There are set criteria that your home must meet to ensure it meets the tolerable standard. For example, it should be structurally stable, have satisfactory thermal insulation, be substantially free from penetrating or rising damp etc. Find out more about the tolerable standard.
Regular Maintenance and Repairs
Regular maintenance and repairs to your property will ensure that your home is kept in a good condition. This can include for example, annual checks, ongoing maintenance and reactive work perhaps after a storm or a particularly cold winter.
You are responsible for looking after your own property. It makes sense in terms of looking after your investment and it may also be a duty you have under your title deeds.
What happens if your house falls into disrepair?
In Argyll and Bute, Council officers will contact you to let you know that work or maintenance needs to be completed on your house to bring it into and keep it in a reasonable state of repair. If at this point you don't take action to fix these problems, the local authority can step in and take more formal action. This can be in the form of work notices or maintenance orders.
Could your home be defective or dangerous?
If we become aware that your house has a defect that is likely to cause your property or a neighbouring property to deteriorate significantly, it can issue you with a defective building notice which requires you to fix the defect.
The Council can also issue a dangerous building notice where your house is a danger or a potential danger to you, the general public or buildings nearby.
If you are unhappy with the decision to issue a work notice, maintenance order or defective or dangerous building notice you can appeal to the sheriff. Find out more here.
Local authorities have been provided with guidance to help them use work notices and maintenance orders and provide assistance to home owners.
Assistance from local authorities
From 1 April 2010 all local authorities have published a Statement of Assistance setting out how it will help owners. Local authorities no longer provide mandatory grants for repairs, maintenance or improvements but practical information or advice, practical assistance or financial assistance.
Assistance for owners who wish to voluntarily complete work on their home
Argyll and Bute Council can provide advice to owners who have not received a notice or order, but who are looking for more information before undertaking works voluntarily. Further information can also be seen here.
Other sources of advice and information
The Building Standards Division within the Scottish Government can provide further information for home owners including information on building warrants, adding a conservatory and energy performance.
If you live in a tenement or other flatted property Consumer Focus Scotland has produced a detailed guide called Common Repair, Common Sense: A detailed guide to the management of tenements in Scotland. This provides details on how to maintain your property and common areas that you may be responsible for.
Shelter Scotland provides advice regarding make common repairs and maintaining your property: Responsibility for Repairs and maintenance in common areas and on property managers and factors.
For further information on appealing against a local authority decision please see the Appeals section on the Scottish Government website.
Care and Repair services help older and disabled owner-occupiers, tenants of private landlords and crofters to repair, improve and adapt their homes. They do this by helping people to decide what work is required, help to choose reliable tradesmen, obtain finance and oversee the work. Small repairs services may also be available.
For more information about Care and Repair in Argyll and Bute contact
Care and Repair,
5 Stafford Street, Oban, PA34 5NJ
Phone 01631 567780